MEP from Forest Gate selected as interim Ukip leader

Ukip interim party leader Gerard Batten Picture: Isabel Infantes

Ukip interim party leader Gerard Batten Picture: Isabel Infantes - Credit: Archant

A politician from Forest Gate has been selected as Ukip’s interim leader and has promised to make it a “populist party”.

Gerard Batten, who has been an MEP since 2004, took control of the party at the weekend after leader Henry Bolton was ousted following a vote of no confidence.

Party members voted by 867 to 500 to remove Mr Bolton from the role during a crisis meeting in Birmingham. He had only been elected to the post in September.

Mr Batten said: “I feel optimistic that Ukip can and will grow stronger and more successful because ordinary patriotic people want, need and deserve a party that represents their interests.

“Ukip came into being because it filled a political vacuum. That vacuum still exists.

You may also want to watch:

“I want Ukip to be a populist party - popular because its policies are what people actually want.”

He added: “We have had many crises in Ukip and I think this one was about whether we have a future or not.”

Most Read

Mr Batten, who stood for a seat on Newham Council for the now-defunct Park ward in 1993 as an Anti-Federalist League candidate before contesting Forest Gate North as a Ukip candidate in 2002, has also defened his description of Islam as a “death cult”.

He made the comments in a blog written shortly after last year’s Westminster terror attack.

Speaking on Sky News’ Sunday with Niall Paterson, Mr Batten said: “They believe in propagating their religion by killing other people and martyring themselves and going and getting their 72 virgins.

“Not all of them - that’s not saying that all of them do believe that or do that - I’m saying that a significant minority believe that and they are the problem.

“But the trouble is they are justified in those beliefs by a literalist interpretation of their own so-called holy texts.”

Mr Batten, who did not rule out standing for the leadership on a permanent basis, dismissed the suggestion Mr Bolton could take legal action against the party, telling his predecessor: “Get on with the rest of your life.”

A fresh election will take place within 90 days.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter